Building the Capital – City-Builders Team Up to Transform Ottawa
Great Place to Live, Work, Play, Study & Invest: The Capital Build Task Force
THE BOARD OF THE OTTAWA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE has just established a new sub-committee called the Capital Build Task Force, a passionate group of community leaders on a crusade to transform Ottawa into a ‘smart city’ – and most importantly, one that attracts successive generations to live, work, play, study and invest in a thriving, dynamic capital city.
“I have two daughters: one living in New York, and the other in Toronto,” said Doug McLarty, co-chair of the Capital Build Task Force, and a Partner at
MNP. “I would love to have them move back to Ottawa, to a city that thrives on innovation, enterprise and an exceptional quality-of-life on both sides of the Ottawa River. Keeping our young people here, and attracting new ones, are some of the values driving the work of this new task force.”
The Capital Build Task Force has prioritized economic development in the National Capital Region (NCR), among them, the revitalization of what they are calling ‘the upper west side’, including LeBreton Flats and Bayview Yards – and east of Parliament Hill, the Byward Market.
In addition, to ensure that both sides of the Ottawa River are connected and support each other as one region, the task force will look for ways to re-establish the train across the Prince of Wales Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau.
The new task force wants to see a federal government campus located in the eastern Ottawa suburb of Orléans. Studies show that over the last decade, every part of the NCR has sustained growth in population, employment and diversity except for the community of Orléans.
“Currently, Orléans exports most of its workforce. During peak hours, Orléans sees a surging outflux of their residents, an estimated 80 per cent exiting to travel to work, versus 20 per cent entering Orléans,” added McLarty. “Orléans is virtually absent on the map of federal employment campuses in Ottawa and Gatineau.”
The Capital Build Task Force has also prioritized the development of the new Civic Hospital Campus, and the growth of health care as a core industry for the region.
“The Ottawa Hospital has seen tremendous growth over the last 20 years as an academic, world-class health care centre that not only saves lives, but also trains and retains the best in the world of clinical science, research and education,” said Susan St. Amand, a task force member and current Chair of the Ottawa Community Foundation.
Once underway, a wide range of public and private sectors will be represented on the task force including banking andfinance, hospitality and tourism, law, building and trades, technology, health, real estate, government and municipalities,
First Nations, and business improvement associations. “With all the redevelopment planned for the Ottawa region, we want to be sure the Chamber is working to engage all community leaders, especially the younger generations,” said Ruby Williams, co-chair of the Capital Build Task Force and a Senior Manager with Deloitte LLP. “This task force intends to have a positive impact in the next 12 to 18 months through a series of activities that firmly back the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, the National Capital Commission, and the public and private sectors who will move these city-building initiatives forward.”
The Capital Build Task Force will host a series of events and initiatives that demonstrate to the region the potency of working as a unified community to back governments in making decisions that improve the quality of life and economic health of a city like Ottawa.
“When the two cities of Ottawa and Gatineau came together to bid on the Amazon headquarters, it brought together the best intentions from all sectors with a common goal to make the National Capital Region the number one place to live anywhere in the world,” said Frank Bilodeau, member of the task force and a District VP, Ottawa and West Quebec, Scotiabank. “When it comes to transforming the city of Ottawa, we should be saying ‘imagine when, not if.’ ”
Some of the many initiatives under consideration by the Capital Build Task Force include expert panels on the impact of an NHL team located in a downtown core; the future and unlimited potential of a modern-day library; the economic and social impact of hosting Canada 150 and the Grey Cup; and how millennials differ from their parents in their perceptions of what constitutes an ideal workplace and their community.
The Capital Build Task Force is currently comprised of the following city-builders and community leaders:
Co-Chair, Doug McLarty, Partner, MNP
Co-Chair, Ruby Williams, Senior Manager, Deloitte
Brian McIntomny, Mann Lawyers
Cheryl Jensen, President, Algonquin College
Cindy VanBuskirk, Advisor, Economic Development Department, City of Ottawa
Frank Bilodeau, District VP, Ottawa and West Quebec, Scotiabank
Jasmine Brown, Executive Director, Orleans BIA
Katherine Cooligan, Managing Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais
Kevin Ford, CEO, Calian Group
Mark Sutcliffe, Broadcaster/Author
Maureen Murphy, Maureen Murphy & Associates
Michael Crockatt, President & CEO, Ottawa Tourism
Michael Curran, Editor, Ottawa Business Journal
Mike Reid, Past President, Ottawa Building and Trades Council
Ross Meredith, General Manager, Westin Hotel
Sean Hamilton, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, CBRE
Susan St. Amand, President, Sirius Financial Services